San Jose Sharks Crumble In Third Period Against Chicago


Mar 14, 2015; San Jose, CA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Patrick Sharp (10) scores a goal against San Jose Sharks goalie Antti Niemi (31) during the first period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

For two periods, the San Jose Sharks had taken the game to the Chicago Blackhawks despite being tied at two. The Sharks were outshooting the Blackhawks 26-13 and had plenty of opportunities for more.

Once the third period began, it was a totally different story. The Blackhawks scored four times in the final frame to take down the Sharks 6-2 at SAP Center Saturday afternoon.

The Sharks showed little signs of being affected by the early start or the dustup between Joe Thornton and Doug Wilson as San Jose outshot Chicago 7-0 in the early phases of the first period. However, the Blackhawks would strike first as Patrick Sharp deposited his own rebound for his 11th goal of the season. It was the first time in eight games that San Jose had failed to score the opening marker of the game.

Chicago would continue to carry the play following the goal, but rookie Melker Karlsson would pull San Jose even at one with his 12th goal of the year at 16:49 of the first. It’s been a pretty impressive rookie season for Karlsson who seems to be finding his scoring touch once again after an 11-game scoring drought through most of February.

The second period followed a similar pattern as the first with each team trading goals. The Blackhawks took the lead again behind a Duncan Keith power-play goal, his eighth of the season, at 8:45. The Sharks would answer right back on their own power play less than four minutes later as Thornton’s shot was tipped into his own net by Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook. It was Thornton’s 14th goal on the season and fitting that he should find the back of the net after all the off-ice drama of the past week.

The Blackhawks wasted little time in reestablishing their lead as Brandon Saad would race around Mirco Mueller and put it past Antti Niemi just 1:21 into the third. This time, Chicago would add on to their lead rather than allowing San Jose to tie it as Bryan Bickell would score his 12th of the season when he was left all alone in the slot. Sharp’s second goal of the night, a power-play tally with 4:50 left, and a Marian Hossa empty-net goal would seal the deal for Chicago.

It was a disappointing outcome for the Sharks who were poised to take three straight games from playoff contenders. San Jose appeared to have cleaned up their defensive game the past couple of games, but the third period meltdown against Chicago was crushing. The Sharks now must hope for some good luck as their other playoff competitors take the ice tonight.

Simply put, playoff teams don’t surrender four goals in the third period on home ice when their backs are against the wall. This Sharks team just can’t seem to get over the final hurdle of putting some serious pressure on the teams they are pursuing.

Now, San Jose must venture east on a seven-game road trip that will likely determine their season. Oh, and all the noise about the rift between Thornton and Wilson will only intensify as the final 13 games of the season play out.

Fun times ahead for a San Jose team that appears on the cusp of the breaking point.

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